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Dorothy L. Sayers: Hymn in Contemplation of Sudden Death

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God, if this day my journey end,

I thank You first for many a friend,

The sturdy and unquestioned piers

That run beneath my bridge of years.

Next, for the power You’ve given me

To view the whole world mirthfully,

For laughter, paraclete of pain,

Like April suns across the rain.

Also that, being not too wise

To do things foolish in folks’ eyes,

I gained experience by this,

And saw life somewhat as it is.

Next for the joy of labor done

And burdens shouldered in the sun;

Not less, for shame of labor lost,

And meekness born of a barren boast.

For every fair and useless thing

That bids us pause from laboring

To look and find the larkspur blue

And marigolds of a different hue;

For eyes to see and ears to hear,

For tongue to speak and thews to bear,

For hands to handle, feet to go,

For life, I give You thanks also.

For all things merry, quaint and strange,

For sound and silence, strength, and change,

At last, for death, which only gives

Value to everything that lives;

For these, good God, who still makes me,

I praise Your name; since, verily,

I of my joy have had no dearth,

Though this day were my last on earth.

Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957), a British author, is best known for the popular mystery series featuring detective Lord Peter Wimsey. Sayers’ Christian humanism and Anglican tradition are reflected in religious writings like Mind of the Maker and her translation of The Song of Roland. She revolutionized religious play-writing when she portrayed Jesus Christ speaking modern English in the television program The Man Born to Be King, which she wrote for the BBC children’s hour. In her nearly ten-year advertising career, she developed popular campaigns for brands like Guiness and Colman’s Mustard.